Visiting Canada: eTA, Tourist Visas, & General Entry Requirements
Canada Tourist Visa
Canada is a stunning, diverse country with so much more to offer than just maple syrup and hockey teams. Because of all the natural beauty and modern amenities Canada has to offer, the country’s desirability for tourists from all over the world is steadily growing. For international tourists setting their sights on the maple leaf country, a Canada tourist visa and something called an eTA for Canada may be required. So, how do you know what your entry requirements are before you travel?
What do I need to travel to Canada?
Canada Tourist Visa – eTA
What you need to legally enter the country largely depends on a few major factors: what country you’re coming from, how long you’re staying, and the purpose of your visit.
If you’re visiting Canada from a country with good diplomatic relations with Canada (called visa-exempt countries), you are allowed to visit for up to six months at a time providing that you aren’t there with the intent to work or go to school, thus you do not need a tourist visa for Canada. A complete list of visa-exempt countries and countries that require a visa can be found on Canada’s official website.
Those who are visiting for under six months, are not there for work or school, and are traveling by air from a visa-exempt country will need to fill out an eTA for Canada.
What is an eTA?
In Canada, an eTA stands for Electronic Travel Authorization. It’s a fairly new program for visa-exempt international visitors who are flying to Canada. The eTA costs on 39 EUR, is easy and convenient to apply for, and is valid for five years from the date that you apply (providing your passport does not expire in that time frame). An eTA for Canada is not a guarantee that you can get into Canada, but it does make the process more straightforward for the border services officer handling your case. You will still need the appropriate documents (such as your passport, green card, etc., if it applies to you) and a valid reason for traveling into the country to be granted entry.
You need an eTA if you’re coming from a visa-exempt country and are staying for under six months, traveling by plane, and/or have a connecting flight through Canada. In Canada, an eTA is only valid for air travel. Those who are traveling by car, boat, or another means of transportation will need to apply for a Canadian tourist visa. An eTA is only valid for international visitors and does not apply for Canadian citizens, dual-citizenship holders, or current and former permanent residents of Canada.
Applying for an eTA is cheap and simple. You can apply online on Canada’s official website in mere minutes. You will receive your decision almost immediately via email. Be sure to get an approved eTA prior to booking your flights so you can ensure there are no complications with your trip. Have your passport, credit or debit card, and your email address ready when you head to Canada’s website to apply for your eTA.
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What if I do need a tourist visa for visiting Canada?
tourist visa Canada
If you’re staying in Canada for longer than six months, are planning to move permanently, need to work or go to school while you’re there, are traveling from a non-exempt country, or need a visa for any other reason, the application process is not that much more difficult than that of the eTA. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to focus on the tourist visa for visiting Canada.
The process is a bit more lengthy, processing time takes about a month, and more expensive (100 CAD), but in most cases you can apply right online on Canada’s website and you only need your passport, a credit or debit card, and a camera to take photos of them. There is a chance that the Canadian government will ask you to perform extra steps such as getting a certificate from your local police, obtaining a medical examination, or going to an interview with officials in your own country, but the need for these extra steps are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and are not the default.
Once your visa is approved and you fly to Canada, border security officials will verify your identity against the information that you provided when you applied for your visa. If everything is verified, you will be allowed to enter the country. Most visas are valid for up to six months. There is the option to apply for a multiple entry travel visa that allows you to visit Canada multiple times, but most travel visas are good for one visit.
visa for visiting Canada
Traveling to another country, even if you’ve done it multiple times before, can be a stressful experience. Even just navigating what paperwork and approvals you need before you travel can be a headache in and of itself. Hopefully with the help of this quick guide you are able to differentiate between an eTA and a travel visa for Canada, and are able to identify what you need in order to visit. Luckily, Canada makes the applications for both types of travel documents easy to access, affordable, and easy to use for everybody.
Now that you know what documents you need before you travel to the beautiful country of Canada, you’re well on your way to being ready to board your flight and head on your way! Just be sure to allot yourself plenty of time before your date of departure to make sure you have everything you need to travel and enter Canada with as little hiccups as possible. Safe travels!
Application for Canada Tourist Visa is available for Citizens from these countries: